The Wait

Acts 1:1-8

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Luke writes an account that follows his Gospel account “about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen,” the aptly named, The Acts of the Apostles. In this composition we read of the things that happened after the resurrection to the apostles and the blooming, early church. We actually see the birth of the “church” under a New Covenant which was at first, difficult for the traditional teachers to accept.

In reading the book of Acts, we will as always, use the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics to unlock the Caged Scripture, which we keep caged by our preconceived notions and presuppositions, as the early Jewish apostles tended to do. CAGED being an acronym for Context, Aspiration of author, Genre, Examples and Divide rightly the word of truth. Context being superlative–everything else follows the context. We will be using an extensive expository exegesis of examples to enlighten the composition. We will examine examples from the New Testament and the Old, seeing fulfillment of prophecy and other angles of the content.

For example: “The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.” Right from the get-go in Acts, while considering the context, we see a name that the context alone doesn’t reveal. The genre is primarily narrative, Luke is telling the story of the apostles and his aspiration seems to be to inform “Theophilus” about all the apostles accomplished, through the Holy Spirit. We can take our Vitamin E and search Luke’s Gospel account and read, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” It certainly appears that this is a single subject, probably an actual person. Even without being Greek scholars, we can certainly see the significance of his name. “Theo,” as in theology and “philus,” as in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. This name, while possibly a proper name, nickname or some other metaphor, seems to mean something like, “God’s friend.” Other than this limited knowledge, we don’t know who this man was or if it was actually a single person. The good news is that although the books of Luke and Acts were written to the mysterious Theophilus, they were preserved for us.

“To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”

After Jesus died on the cross and rose again, he remained, though differently, on the earth for at least 40 days. The context is a bit vague because it reads, “appearing to them over a period of forty days.” We don’t know if Jesus appeared to his disciples every day but we do know that Jesus was raised from the dead the day after Passover and that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, fifty days later. Jesus also said, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  Therefore, at minimum, Jesus hung around the earth for forty days which is fitting, for that’s how many days he was wandering the wilderness.

In a few days, the disciples are to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, therefore they wait. The question arises, what does it mean to be baptized by the Holy Spirit? We will not speculate on such things but take the context as it comes, letting the Bible interpret itself.  One thing I ask of my readers is to set aside preconceived notions and presuppositions. We are better at learning when we empty our minds of things that may be misconceptions. At this moment, we are not told what it means to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, other than the power to be a witness. Nevertheless, as we continue to consider the context, clarity will come. All that we have been told concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that it is coming, it’s similar to John’s baptism yet much more meaningful. Luke reminds the reader what Jesus has said to his disciples; “He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'”

It’s a fine line, often times indiscernible, between expository exegesis and​ confluent conjecture. Two passages may have an apperant confluence, converging to a common conclusion yet it may be through confluent conjecture and not expository exegesis. Similar sounding Scriptures, may only be just that, similar sounding situations, and should not be taken as dogmatic doctrine. Anyone who has read more than one of my missives has undoubtedly sensed that this is one of my pet peeves–it is why I write. Nothing is more true than; unless you are learning for yourself, you only know what you have been taught. My missives began as a series of letters written to church members to not only Scripturally satisfy my positions, but to show some, respectfully, that their opinions may lack Scriptural support. It’s definitely difficult to be in the minority but it also can be a lot of fun. Probably my favorite example of confluent conjecture, other than today’s text, to which we will return, is found in the book of Revelation. But to be completely forthcoming, it is absolutely, positively, not found in Revelation, not at all–“this is the Antichrist.” Not once, not a single, solitary mention of “The Antichrist” is found in the book of Revelation. John is the only author to utter the word, “antichrist,” yet never writes it once in the entire apocalypse. Yet thousands of pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers exlclaim, “this is The Antichrist” in reference to the Beast of Revelation. That’s confluent conjecture and not expository exegesis. Satan, false prophets, antichrists, demons and any enemy of God will no doubt look and act like each other. Nevertheless, John’s literal description of the antichrist, hardly matches his description of the Beast. For more on this click here: https://russellpmissives.com/2018/06/16/337/

Therefore, we will not come to conclusions based on confluent conjecture, such as, “one must be baptized in water and the Holy Spirit to be saved.” Neither shall we jump to a conclusion concerning speaking in tongues as evidence of being baptized by the Holy Spirit–we aren’t there yet–and as Paul wrote; “not all speak in tongues, do they?” We will take the context as it comes and closely consider the greater context and examples.

Right now, in the context, Jesus has gathered, and is telling his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. But the disciples are curious, notice; “And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’”

The disciples want Jesus to tell them if this is the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel? Now, as I have previously explained, my mind works differently than most men’s minds. I can’t explain it but notice it daily. So when most pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers see the disciples asking about the end of the world, I see the disciples asking Jesus about the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. Which is fairly ironic because I am the one who is told to take the Bible more literally. How one interprets is based on one’s preconceived notions and presuppositions. Notice that the disciples don’t ask, “is it now that your thousand year reign begins?” What do the disciples mean by asking, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Remember, the disciples are literally followers of Jesus but they have yet to master the metaphor. The disciples mean exactly what they ask; “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

Perhaps it is the response of Jesus that causes confusion​ in many pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers. “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.'” Notice the “but.” It is not for them to know times or epochs but they will receive power and be witnesses when they receive the Spirit. While passively answering their question, Jesus subtlety shifts the subject. For most pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers, this is a problem. In Matthew 24, Jesus shares with his disciples alone, the Olivet Discourse, in which Jesus explains to them the exact things that would proceed his coming. Rather than commit confluent conjecture, we clearly see that the belief in the restoration of Israel by the disciples is mutually exclusive from the coming of the Lord–the context confirms this. Nevertheless, neither are the focus here–the Holy Spirit is. That and what the disciples will do with the help of the Holy Spirit; “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” We are picking up where we left off in Matthew. It’s not about times, ages, prophecies or kingdoms but about the Holy Spirit coming to help fulfil the Great Commission. But as of right now, the disciples are under orders to wait.

 

 

 

 

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